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 Modeling Redwoods and Pine trees with “air ferns”
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Hume Lumber Co
Engine Wiper

USA
413 Posts

Posted - 10/20/2005 :  5:50:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hume Lumber Co's Homepage
Today at my visit to Tom’s Trains, our local train store in, Fresno, CA I discussed making redwood trees. Some how I must have had tight written all over me [:-bigeyes], because they didn’t even show me anything to by. The just mentioned that I could use “air ferns” (AKA "air plants" and "air moss"). Evidently this is a type of fern that survives with out soil or water. [:-jumprefect][:-jumprefect]

More info on air ferns:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/PLANTanswers/housepl/airfern.html

http://www.airfern.com/air%20ferns%20and%20bonsai.htm


Now what I was instructed to do was:
1. Get what ever type of wood I wanted to use for the trunk and drill holes in it.
2. Then put the air fern into holes as branches…
3. Clip fern as desired.
4. Now the fun part. [:-bouncy] It will continue to grow and after a few years (I guess it grows slow) clip it again.

Here are my questions:
Does anyone have experience with this method of tree modeling?
What scale does this look best with? (I am doing HO scale.)
Please list pictures, questions and/or comments on this thread.[:-dopey]

Thanks,
Matthew

Cigarguy
Fireman

USA
3894 Posts

Posted - 10/20/2005 :  6:15:40 PM  Show Profile
I have made most of my own trees for my logging layout, but do not use air ferns. Why would I want to go back and trim them later? Will live plants draw insects and / or moisture towards the layout? Not sure, just asking....

Mike
D&B Lumber Co.
"The Best Wood You Ever Saw!"
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Cigarguy
Fireman

USA
3894 Posts

Posted - 10/20/2005 :  6:15:40 PM  Show Profile
I have made most of my own trees for my logging layout, but do not use air ferns. Why would I want to go back and trim them later? Will live plants draw insects and / or moisture towards the layout? Not sure, just asking....

Mike
D&B Lumber Co.
"The Best Wood You Ever Saw!"
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Hume Lumber Co
Engine Wiper

USA
413 Posts

Posted - 10/20/2005 :  11:14:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hume Lumber Co's Homepage
Well as it says in the link:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/PLANTanswers/housepl/airfern.html
Air Fern
1. Q. What is an air fern and how should it be cultured for maximum growth?

A. I was born in the dark but NOT last night! Don't hold your breath waiting for your "air fern" to grow. You may turn blue in the face. The air fern, which is billed in stores and some garden centers as a plant that needs no water or fertilizer, is actually the skeletal remains of a tiny sea animal called Sertularia, a distant relative of coral. The skeletons look like ferns and have extremely fine foliage. In stores they are also sold as "air plants" and "air moss". The skeletons are collected by ships which dredge for them along coastal areas in the estuaries of streams and rivers. They are then treated with chemicals and dyed green. If you have an air fern, don't water or fertilize it -- this exercise will be similar to trying to feed a corpse. And even worse, the water removes the dye and bleaches the stems. Also, if the air fern has been shipped or stored for any length of time, it is likely to have a rather strong odor, not entirely pleasant. It's best to let the fern air out before putting it in a closed room.



So I think it is like dry moss or lichen... Basically it looks like people say it is alive, but not very active. If no one else on the forum has tried it I will just to see what happens.

Matthew
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Hume Lumber Co
Engine Wiper

USA
413 Posts

Posted - 10/20/2005 :  11:14:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hume Lumber Co's Homepage
Well as it says in the link:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/PLANTanswers/housepl/airfern.html
Air Fern
1. Q. What is an air fern and how should it be cultured for maximum growth?

A. I was born in the dark but NOT last night! Don't hold your breath waiting for your "air fern" to grow. You may turn blue in the face. The air fern, which is billed in stores and some garden centers as a plant that needs no water or fertilizer, is actually the skeletal remains of a tiny sea animal called Sertularia, a distant relative of coral. The skeletons look like ferns and have extremely fine foliage. In stores they are also sold as "air plants" and "air moss". The skeletons are collected by ships which dredge for them along coastal areas in the estuaries of streams and rivers. They are then treated with chemicals and dyed green. If you have an air fern, don't water or fertilize it -- this exercise will be similar to trying to feed a corpse. And even worse, the water removes the dye and bleaches the stems. Also, if the air fern has been shipped or stored for any length of time, it is likely to have a rather strong odor, not entirely pleasant. It's best to let the fern air out before putting it in a closed room.



So I think it is like dry moss or lichen... Basically it looks like people say it is alive, but not very active. If no one else on the forum has tried it I will just to see what happens.

Matthew
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Hume Lumber Co
Engine Wiper

USA
413 Posts

Posted - 10/20/2005 :  11:21:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hume Lumber Co's Homepage
Here is a picture of it to give you an idea of what it looks like:


From the website:
http://airfern.com/air%20ferns%20and%20bonsai.htm
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Hume Lumber Co
Engine Wiper

USA
413 Posts

Posted - 10/20/2005 :  11:21:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit Hume Lumber Co's Homepage
Here is a picture of it to give you an idea of what it looks like:


From the website:
http://airfern.com/air%20ferns%20and%20bonsai.htm
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Cigarguy
Fireman

USA
3894 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2005 :  12:11:36 PM  Show Profile
I will be interested to see how it works out. Keep us posted!

Mike
D&B Lumber Co.
"The Best Wood You Ever Saw!"
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Cigarguy
Fireman

USA
3894 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2005 :  12:11:36 PM  Show Profile
I will be interested to see how it works out. Keep us posted!

Mike
D&B Lumber Co.
"The Best Wood You Ever Saw!"
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ANo10
Fireman

USA
2773 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2005 :  12:36:50 PM  Show Profile
Matthew,

I have a Campbell's tree kit which has air fern. I looked for and had trouble finding it locally. So, I switched to dried Caspia and dried Plumosa (readily available at Hobby Lobby) for the pine trees. I then give them a dusting of Noch pine needles.

Jim
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ANo10
Fireman

USA
2773 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2005 :  12:36:50 PM  Show Profile
Matthew,

I have a Campbell's tree kit which has air fern. I looked for and had trouble finding it locally. So, I switched to dried Caspia and dried Plumosa (readily available at Hobby Lobby) for the pine trees. I then give them a dusting of Noch pine needles.

Jim
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jeffjan2001
Engine Wiper

USA
198 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2005 :  1:03:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit jeffjan2001's Homepage  Send jeffjan2001 a Yahoo! Message
quote:
Originally posted by ANo10

Matthew,

I have a Campbell's tree kit which has air fern. I looked for and had trouble finding it locally. So, I switched to dried Caspia and dried Plumosa (readily available at Hobby Lobby) for the pine trees. I then give them a dusting of Noch pine needles.

Jim




Matt & Jim,
I have a file at:
http://www.railroad-line.com/file_lister/jeffjan2001/Conifer%20Clinic.pdf
that tells how to make Pines out of Yucca Stalks. If you have them available locally, it is pretty simple and cheap!
I have done this and they looked pretty good, although i built them as they suggested (heighth-wise) and thought they were a bit too tall and over powered the scene.

Hope my two cents worth is helpful.

Jeff
Spitton, Bailey & Wyre RR
"We'll get you there even if we have to get out and push!"
http://www.trainweb.org/sbwrr
Loosely Based on the Camas Prairie RR in Northern ID
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jeffjan2001
Engine Wiper

USA
198 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2005 :  1:03:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit jeffjan2001's Homepage  Send jeffjan2001 a Yahoo! Message
quote:
Originally posted by ANo10

Matthew,

I have a Campbell's tree kit which has air fern. I looked for and had trouble finding it locally. So, I switched to dried Caspia and dried Plumosa (readily available at Hobby Lobby) for the pine trees. I then give them a dusting of Noch pine needles.

Jim




Matt & Jim,
I have a file at:
http://www.railroad-line.com/file_lister/jeffjan2001/Conifer%20Clinic.pdf
that tells how to make Pines out of Yucca Stalks. If you have them available locally, it is pretty simple and cheap!
I have done this and they looked pretty good, although i built them as they suggested (heighth-wise) and thought they were a bit too tall and over powered the scene.

Hope my two cents worth is helpful.

Jeff
Spitton, Bailey & Wyre RR
"We'll get you there even if we have to get out and push!"
http://www.trainweb.org/sbwrr
Loosely Based on the Camas Prairie RR in Northern ID
Go to Top of Page

ANo10
Fireman

USA
2773 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2005 :  1:51:11 PM  Show Profile
Jeff,

I have read your file on using Yucca stalks. I have a bundle of them at home for that purpose. All of the trunks I have built before were made of various sizes of wooden dowels. Shamus (Paul T.)has a tree construction thread in the archives. I believe he also published an article in RMC on scratchbuilding trees. Also Karl O has a thread on this forum for building pines.

Thanks again for the file on the Yucca's. They are plentiful here in the Southwest.

Jim

Edited by - ANo10 on 10/21/2005 1:57:24 PM
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ANo10
Fireman

USA
2773 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2005 :  1:51:11 PM  Show Profile
Jeff,

I have read your file on using Yucca stalks. I have a bundle of them at home for that purpose. All of the trunks I have built before were made of various sizes of wooden dowels. Shamus (Paul T.)has a tree construction thread in the archives. I believe he also published an article in RMC on scratchbuilding trees. Also Karl O has a thread on this forum for building pines.

Thanks again for the file on the Yucca's. They are plentiful here in the Southwest.

Jim

Edited by - ANo10 on 10/21/2005 1:57:24 PM
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